By: Jennifer Delay James, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) mentor with an MBA from DePaul University
Standing out among many job seekers can be challenging at job fairs. In this article, Jennifer Delay James, DePaul alumna and mentor, and program manager at Pearson, shares how you can prepare and excel at your next job fair.
Target Specific Employers
Review the list of companies attending and the positions they are looking to fill before the career fair. Identify the five employers you definitely want to meet, and then create a separate list of the other employers that you will visit if time allows. This will help you prioritize your time, and if you finish early you can still meet with employers that are not on either of your high priority lists.
Prepare in Advance
You will only have a few minutes to meet with an employer’s representative; be prepared so you can make the most of this time. Practice a short 15-30 second introduction to use when meeting with employers. Also, be ready to share why you are interested in working for each employer, highlighting your relevant skills and experiences, and asking thoughtful questions about the organization or position.
Bring Hard Copies of Resume
Even if you submitted your resume online prior to a career fair, bring plenty of hard copies so the employers can refer to it during your discussions. Employers may also ask you to submit your cover letter and resume online through the company website.
Keep Track of Conversations
When meeting with multiple employers in a short amount of time, it can be easy to lose track of who shared what information. Take notes on the back of the business cards you collect or in a separate notebook. Your notes will be helpful when following up with each employer.
Collect business cards from the individuals you speak with so you have their contact information. Take the time to follow up with a short, personalized thank you note to each representative you met.
The Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) network connects DePaul students and graduates with alumni to explore college and professional transitions, life challenges, and university and career questions. To connect with Jennifer and other ASK mentors like her, visit Handshake. Questions? Contact ASK at email@example.com.